Patriot League

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The Patriot League is a college athletic conference which operates in the northeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I) for all sports; in football, it participates in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS; still often referred to by its former designation of Division I-AA). There are eight "full" member schools, whose teams participate in all league sports, except football.[1] American does not compete in football, while Army and Navy are Independents in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Associate members include Fordham (football), Georgetown (football), Villanova (women's lacrosse) and MIT (women's rowing). The league was founded in 1984 as the Colonial League (not to be confused with the Colonial Athletic Association), but competition did not start until 1986.[1] It changed its name in 1990 when it expanded to include other sports besides football.

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Patriot League members are schools with very strong academic reputations that adhere strongly to the ideal of the "scholar-athlete", with the emphasis on "scholar". Out-of-league play for Patriot League schools is typically with members of the Ivy League, which follow similar philosophies regarding academics and athletics.

While financial aid has always been available, athletic scholarships have only been given in recent years at Patriot League schools. Basketball scholarships were first allowed beginning with freshmen entering the league in the fall of 1998. In 2001, when American, which gave scholarships in all sports (AU does not play football) entered the league, the league began allowing all schools to do so in sports other than football. Lafayette, the last no athletic scholarships holdout, began granting full rides in basketball and other sports with freshmen entering the school in the fall of 2006. Football scholarships are still limited strictly to need-based aid.

Patriot League members have some of the oldest collegiate athletic programs in the country. In particular, The Rivalry between Lehigh University and Lafayette College is both the nation's most played and longest uninterrupted college football series[2]. Similarly, matchups between Army and Navy in any sport, especially football, are always intense.

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